College Costs

Updated insider information by Chellie Campbell, author of “The Wealthy Spirit: Daily Affirmations for Financial Stress Reduction”

289-October 16

“Too caustic? To hell with the cost, we’ll make the picture anyway.”—Samuel Goldwyn

 

According to census figures, here are the average annual earnings of Americans, based on their level of education:

Education Level                                       Male                            Female*

No high school diploma                      $16,818                       $8,861

High school diploma                           $25,453                      $13,407

College diploma                                    $47,126                      $26,401

Think it might be a good idea to go to college? College graduates make nearly double the income of high school graduates who don’t go to college.

If you want to attend college, but are afraid of the cost, read on:

College is more affordable than people think. A 1997 American Council on Education survey found that 71 percent of respondents said that a college education was “not affordable for most families.” They also thought that the cost of getting a college degree was much more than it actually was. In another study, respondents guessed the cost of annual tuition at a four-year college was nearly $10,000 when in reality it was closer to $3,000.

So much is written about the high cost of a college education that many people never investigate the possibility. They know it’s expensive so they don’t bother to look into it any further. But there are many financial aid programs available to help at every stage of the process. Contact the financial aid office at the colleges you are interested in. They will assist you to get the help you need, direct you to scholarship possibilities, work-study programs, grants and loans. Read Anna and Robert Leider’s book, Don’t Miss Out: The Ambitious Student’s Guide to Financial Aid. Written from a consumer’s point of view, they list hundreds of scholarship, grant, and loan sources.

Continued on page 289 of The Wealthy Spirit

Today’s Affirmation: “I always generate plenty of money to do what I want to do!”

College costs certainly have escalated since I wrote this back in 2000.  Now it’s not unusual for college to cost $10,000 per year and more. My friend’s son went to medical school and the cost was about $65,00o per year. Yikes! The biggest overall problem I’m seeing is that too many young people are graduating from college saddled with huge debts. And in the current economy, new college graduates are the largest group of the unemployed – a whopping 24% of these young people can’t find jobs.

I’m not telling you this to disuade you from getting a college education. It’s still an important long-term investment in your future, especially if you need a degree in order to succeed in your chosen profession. But I think it’s reasonable now to consider waiting to go to college until you’re sure of your course of study and exactly how it will pay off in your future. Just to go and get a general education without being certain of your goals is probably not the best choice to maximize your benefits.

Another choice that can have great benefits is occupational training – learn a trade and become an electrician, contractor, plumber, etc. These jobs pay well and are always in demand. After all, you can’t outsource your plumbing to India or China.

I look forward to the day when our economy turns around, college costs diminish, and unemployment isn’t so high. As a society, we need to be making a much bigger investment in education overall.